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Southern Alberta, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains

November 24, 2011

“Welcome to Alberta”, the cheerful sign said once I had crossed over into Canada.

After a most uneventful border crossing, where once again no one asked me for Misty and Mosely’s Required Health Certificate which I had just spent $100 and 2 hours procuring, I proceeded north along Highway 15 as it sliced its way through what looked like The Great Plains, minus the buffalo.  Open, low rolling, hay colored, country as far as the eye could see, dotted with the occasional silo, haystack, or farmhouse.

As I drove I noticed the crosswinds picking up and by the time I got up to the Lethbridge area, they had gotten rather alarming.  I slowed my pace accordingly, gripped the wheel a bit harder, and looked around nervously as I watched tumbleweed after tumbleweed do more of a shoot across my bow than a tumble across my path.  It occurred to me that the UHaul was acting as a sail behind me and I hoped it wasn’t going to throw me over and down like one of those cowboys do the calves.  (I’m still in cowboy country, don’t ya know).

Well it wasn’t long before I had to slow down to a crawl due to flashing lights indicating an obstruction in the road.  As you can see, the wind was indeed on the strong side.

And within a few short miles, there was another.

And within a few more short miles, there was another.  Seriously.  I kid you not.  I mean, I don’t want to sound like I think I know what I’m talking about or anything, but wouldn’t you think these drivers would slow down after seeing one(or more) of their fellow truckers lying on their side next to the road???

And there you were thinking, how strong could the winds have been?

As I proceeded north, I passed 2 more big rigs on their sides along with one pick up truck and its large 5th wheel trailer.  Goodness, I hope all those drivers are alright.

I was running out of gas, so had to stop.  I faced The Black Hole into the wind and tried to get out of the car.  It was quite tough since the wind kept slamming the door shut., so I ended up having to crawl into the back with the dogs and go out the hatch.  Goodness.  Once around to the gas tank side of the car, I was pelted with dirt, sand, grit, and flying trash, but I was lucky because I actually got some gas before the station’s lights went out rendering the pumps useless.  Lucky me.  I went inside to use the potty in the dark and chatted with the folks gathered there (not in the potty, but in the store) and learned the winds had been clocked gusting over 110km per hour.  I don’t know what that is in American speak, but it must be some kinda humdinger.

After struggling back to the car, covering my head all the while because I would have been knocked senseless if something heavier than trash happened to be flying by, I got in and headed north telling the hound dogs it wasn’t safe for them to venture out at this point and to please just cross their legs.

A few hours later, I decided it was safe enough to let the dogs out for a much needed potty break, but have to say, we still struggled and had to lean into the wind to keep from getting knocked back or over.    Later, I saw a man whose tractor-trailer had blown over and he was trying to get back to it.  He was leaning double into the wind like in the cartoons got knocked down and back twice in the few seconds I watched.

Goodness gracious.  Welcome to Alberta indeed.





6 Comments leave one →
  1. rusty permalink
    November 24, 2011 2:56 pm

    “Roo, cover your head!”

  2. November 24, 2011 6:56 pm

    Ha! Cover your head indeed! I still tell that story and it still makes me laugh. Good to hear from you Rootowne.

  3. Sue C. permalink
    November 25, 2011 7:26 am

    Wow! That’s some scary wind! But it’s awesome that the hound dogs were so obliging as to keep their legs crossed until you could safely pull over. I think my dogs would have looked at me cross-eyed or something. Haha! You crack me up. Stay safe out there!

  4. Li1gray permalink
    November 25, 2011 2:22 pm

    Wow those are some strong winds but less 70 mph but a direct cross wnd would make it hard to keep anything on the road that had any size to it, drive safe.

  5. Karen an Jennifer+ 8 cats permalink
    November 25, 2011 8:25 pm

    Karen an Jennifer,
    Happy you made it. That is why I will never go through Kansas ever again!
    How did that couch thing work out for you?

  6. Lil Eubanks permalink
    November 25, 2011 9:01 pm

    I don’t guess you stopped at the Lethbridge welcome station. It has a huge heavy metal ball hanging on a heavy duty chain that is their wind gauge. Look it up on the internet. It is very impressive and obviously they were being serious about the need for such a wind gauge

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